If there’s anything I’ve learned as a long-time comics fan, it’s that everyone in comics is someone’s favorite character. And that includes Wally West, who may be returning, if The Flash #0 is any indication.
For those who came in late, just who is Wally West? Well, he started out at Barry Allen’s sidekick in the ’60s – Kid Flash to Barry’s Flash. When Barry died during the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” event, Wally stepped up to take Barry’s place. Wally went through a lot of changes, but always maintained his connections with his Teen Titans teammates. He even had a family near the end of his “run.”
When DC decided to reboot their books via the “New 52,” Wally was nowhere to be found. That made some folks decidedly unhappy.
I was fortunate enough to attend the San Diego Comic-Con just before the “New 52” happened, and I was at several of the daily DC Comics panels about the then-looming event. There was one fan in the audience who got to the microphone every single day and demanded Wally’s return. And he’d do it even after Dan DiDio told people he wouldn’t take any more questions about Wally! Now THAT’s a true fan for you!
I have to say that The Flash is one of my favorite “New 52” comics, and I love seeing Barry back on the go. I understand the rationale that DC wants to make sure that there aren’t too many characters who bear names from the same “family.” (I know that the Bat-family is an exception.) But now that we’re a year in, it seems like a good time to take another look at Wally.
So, does the Dennis West who appeared in The Flash #0 (check out the art at the bottom of this article) lead to Wally’s return?
Here’s how this was all handled at DC’s blog, The Source: “Part of what we promised from Zero Month was planting seeds that will play out in future arcs of each title. One way we did so was by introducing new characters who will play major roles in the coming months.
“Fans who picked up THE FLASH #0 met a new member of the West family. Locked away behind bars, Daniel West certainly seems to have an interesting story to tell. But who is this mysterious character? What are his ties to Barry? And how will his introduction impact the series?
“‘Daniel West is a classic case of juvenile delinquency,’ series co-writer and artist Francis Manapul teased to THE SOURCE. ‘Unfortunately for him, his first major crime is foiled by Flash’s first ever outing as a superhero. In the present, after having served his debt to society, Daniel just wants his old life back. All he wants is to go back home. But what he finds is a city over run by apes, and a sister that’s nowhere to be found. Welcome home indeed. He’ll be setting forth to find his lost sister amidst the disastrous events of “Gorilla Warfare!”‘”
Of course, the Internet is awash with rumors that Daniel’s introduction will lead to Wally’s return, especially from the latter guy’s fans. And that would be fine with me! I think Barry’s been re-established firmly enough that we can see Wally again. What I wonder is: Will Wally be another Flash? Or might they give him something else to do in the “New 52?” Personally, I’d rather see the latter done, perhaps giving him a different set of powers or a unique role in the DC Universe. But we’ll see.
I’ve been happy with DC’s product (and the sales results) with the “New 52,” so I’d like to see them get creative with Wally. Not only that, writers have struggled with heroes and villains who have super-speed. I’ve enjoyed what they’ve done with Barry to date, so maybe Wally can be his own hero? Oh, I can hear Wally’s fans screaming already! I bet at the upcoming New York Comic-Con, DC would get an earful if they go that route!
Granted, Wally isn’t my favorite like he is with some. (Hey, I fussed when Mr. DiDio wanted to kill Dick Grayson a while back, so I get it! I still think Dick is better as Nightwing than Batman.) But in the long term, I feel that DC, The Flash and Wally would all benefit from giving him new territory to conquer! What do you think?